7) Viewing the finished result

Once you have decided on your favourite photographs, you need to decide the best way to view them. Digital photography has greatly expanded the way that we can look at our images and how you choose to display them can affect not only your enjoyment of them but also the meaning they have for your family.

We had very few photographs in my parents’ home but there was a hand-coloured picture of my mother and her sister that hung on our living room wall. My mother is dressed in her military uniform and must have been about 20 years old and my aunt is wearing a pretty, floral dress. My mother passed away a few years ago and this is the image of her that I carry in my mind. The strange thing is that I wasn’t born for at least ten years after this photograph was taken, which shows the power of photographs to create memories.

Mum & Aunt Gina

On the wall

Maybe because of that experience, simply framed on a wall is still my favourite way to view a photograph. The picture is always on display, a constant reminder of the person at that stage in their life and an indicator of the passing of time. Although not looked at every day, it is nice to reflect on in a thoughtful moment and it also becomes part of family life. Not only viewed by the family but also by friends and a quiet statement of who we are.

The Album

Occasionally we have clients who say they are not interested in buying an album as they feel they will hardly ever look at it. In a way, that is the point of an album. We tend to look at family albums (or shoe boxes of photos) at key stages in our lives. Not only weddings, births and deaths but also family get-togethers. As children grow older they will become much more interested in looking at old photographs to see their family’s history and are usually fascinated by images of themselves from a time they only vaguely recall. I remember my daughter bringing home her new boyfriend (now married with a baby daughter, Cara) and showing him the family pics – in effect, showing him who she was and where she came from. Albums also have the advantage of being one of the most archival ways of storing your pictures. Light is the great destroyer of photos and as they are stored between closed pages, very little gets in.

Conor

Conor

Digital frames

Digital frames are becoming very popular, allowing you to show a continuously changing gallery of your photographs. I still think they are on the expensive side, considering the size they are. Soon they will be superseded by the good old TV set, or I should say the new Flat Screen HD set that most homes now have. It is quite simple to connect a computer to most of today’s sets and you can watch slideshows of your photographs blown up to huge sizes. TVs are already being made that will accept memory cards in the same way that a digital frame does and very soon the TV will be the central media hub where we not only watch programmes and films, but listen to our music and yes, view our pictures.

Printing

In the past most people shot some snaps on holiday then had them printed at Boots. Thanks to the digital revolution photographs can now be printed on to almost any surface and in all manner of ways. Having been presented with my first two grandchildren last year, everyone in the family got calendars of Cara and Conor, and I don’t think that I have ever given gifts that were so well received. Visit any photo printing web site and you will see the vast array of products that are available and all at very reasonable prices. Albums, mugs, key-rings, jigsaws, t-shirts, the possibilities are endless.

Cara

Cara

Computer

Most of us now store our pictures on a computer and it makes sense to have a means of seeing them there. I have a collection of my favourite family and holiday pics that I use as my screen-saver. Whenever I am away from my desk for more than ten minutes they start showing as a slideshow. As I sit back down at my desk I have an image in front of me that always has pleasant memories – a great reward for getting back to work. You have to be careful though, one of my clients told me that she does the same and it usually takes her about a quarter of an hour to start working again, as she get transfixed by the changing photos of her family.

Electronic media

Mp3 players  are now a common way to store photos so that you always have a portable collection of your images. The iPhone and iPod touch are some of the latest devices to have a decent sized screen and are therefore ideal for showing off your holiday pics to work-mates. And who hasn’t had a proud parent show you their beautiful child on their mobile phone.

However you wish to view your pictures, keep taking lots of them. They are one of the few things that become more valuable with age.

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